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Tavon Austin lining up everywhere but the backfield

When the Dallas Cowboys acquired Tavon Austin in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams, the immediate discussion was about the receiver being used as a "web-back."

Apparently, those stories were mostly works of fiction.

During Cowboys training camp, Austin has lined up everywhere but the backfield. According to Dallas Morning News beat reporter Jon Machota, Austin has taken snaps on the outside, lined up in the slot, taken handoffs on end-arounds and returned punts. He hasn't seen the backfield.

"All the things you see me doing out here is pretty much what I'll be doing," Austin said. "I ain't touched the backfield yet, but hopefully, eventually if they need me back there, I'll be back there too."'s Gregg Rosenthal noted that Austin was lining up outside a lot early in camp, making the talk of using him as a running back seemingly a hazy dream of a sleepy offseason.

With big questions at receiver, and one of the best running backs in the NFL already in the backfield, attempting to utilize Austin as a veteran presence at receiver makes sense. Whether it works out is a different question. In five years with the Rams, the 28-year-old has never earned more than 434 receiving yards in a single season. Sean McVay, widely believed to be one of the brightest offensive minds in the NFL, couldn't figure out how to unlock Austin's talent last season.

Past failures have the former first-round pick salivating to prove that a change of scenery will make the difference in his receiving production.

"There's always going to be a chip on my shoulder," Austin said. "No. 1 because I've always been small. I had the same thing coming out [of college] when I went No. 8. The chip is always going to be there regardless. But last year was a little hard for me. My injury and I didn't get a fair chance over there. But at the end of the day, God's got me right now.

"I'm just happy right now. They [are giving me] an opportunity and I'm making the best of it."

For now, that opportunity doesn't include backfield work.

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